25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." (Matthew 14:22-33 NIV)
I have really been drawn lately to this well-known passage from Matthew. However, a couple of things have hit me that I have never really paid much attention to before.
First is Peter saying "Lord, if it is you..." This tells me several things ... to always seek God's calling ... that He can give us the power to do unthinkable things ... and that we need to avoid the teachings of those who are not really operating with God working through their life.
This is a bit akin to something Lisa and I were talking about last night ... doing good deeds ... and how, when we do "good deeds", we need to make sure that we're doing them because God is calling us, and not only because we want to please another human nor because we want to satisfy our own ego. That requires balance and discernment. Sometimes it is easier to just say "yes" to everything and avoid the whole discernment process. But then that leads to a loss of balance ... a setting of priorities by man's standards, not God's. Not a good thing.
Next, I am really struck by the simplicity of Jesus' response to Peter -- "Come." When we step out in faith, we don't have all the answers. God has them but He's not necessarily going to give them to us because the expectation is that, as obedient servants, we should respond to something so simple as "Come." This again puts huge emphasis on prayer and discernment -- making sure that we are responding to God and not to others nor to our ego.
And, finally, I am struck by what happens when, once Peter starts his journey across the water, he takes his eye off of Jesus. The same can happen to us. Jesus says simply "Come." We don't know where we're going ... and then sometimes storms invade, fears pervade, doubt prevails ... and we start to go down.
Pray, discern, listen, follow the simple command, and keep my eyes on Jesus. That is my lesson to remember.